Gadgets hudmini

Published on May 16th, 2015 | by Greg


Audinst’s HUD-mini Value-Priced Compact DAC

Not every piece of equipment has to be perfect- and very few items that we test out can claim to reach for such an impossible goal anyway. Sometimes, you have a budget, or it’s simply physically impossible to balance competing demands- we’d all like infinite battery life, light weight, and incredible durability, but there are limits.

The Audinst HUD-mini isn’t the best-sounding DAC that we’ve heard, and it’s not the best-looking either. But, for a small group of just the right people, it might just be the ideal little device to help boost their audio experience. It’s truly portable, as it’s USB-powered and doesn’t require a lot of extra cabling or worrying about batteries. In fact, the only input is USB, but there are plenty of output options- not only front a 3.5mm minijack port for headphones, a separate 1/4″ headphone jack, stereo RCA and even an S/PDIF optical port as well on the rear.

As with most similar digital-to-analog convertors, the Audinst HUD-mini is compatible with Windows and Mac OSX operating systems, and doesn’t care what software or program you’re using. Native sampling rates go up to 24-bit and 96kHz, so not high-resolution capable, but it can decode and handle better (including the somewhat-unusual 88.2kHz sampling rate). Built with pretty impressive components, like the TI Burr-Brown PCM1791A, it manages to be compact and lightweight (only 160 grams) without compromising on the circuitry. There’s a lot of space and very little noise, even when your sound source is silent, but we wouldn’t use it to drive higher impedance headphones.

But sound is transparent, clean and crisp, with just a small reduction in detail when comparing with larger and more expensive units. There’s a bit less power, leading the Audinst HUD-mini to be a bit quieter on some sets. For the price, though, it’s pretty solid- and for the size too. It’s a great entrance-level model, without much pizazz, and available now for around $120.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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